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GAME REPORT

JackJumpers Survive Hawks Scare for Big Win

The Tasmania JackJumpers turned on another shooting clinic led by captain Clint Steindl but then had to overcome some late trouble with the press break to overcome the Illawarra Hawks and keep their season alive with Sunday's 81-77 win.

MyState Bank Arena was charged with leading off a massive NBL triple-header this Sunday, and Scott Roth and the Tasmania JackJumpers answered with aplomb. 

Riding the energy provided by a packed crowd in the Apple Isle, the JackJumpers were magnificent in an action-packed 81-77 victory over the Illawarra Hawks, damaging the Hawks’ playoff hopes in the process and keeping their own alive.

The last two minutes packed as many twists as you’ll see this NBL season. Somehow, a 10-point lead with 1:28 dwindled to a 76-74 lead with 30 seconds to go. 

It came via back-to-back baskets from the Hawks' Tyler Harvey, one off a brain-exploding steal from MiKyle McIntosh, and an outside bomb from Justinian Jessup. 

But Jack McVeigh, the 25-year-old former Adelaide 36er, injected some oxygen back into the MyState Bank Arena crowd when he made a clutch three-point play with 24 seconds left. When Jessup added another three-pointer, McVeigh answered with a calming two to hand the JackJumpers the win. 

The late hero, McVeigh finished with 19 points on 8/16 shooting, which was only bettered points-wide by his teammate Clint Steindl (20 points, 7/10 from the field). 

Despite the late drama, both performances capped a cohesive and defiant display from the JackJumpers all afternoon. Roth gave his shooters freedom in this one, and it was a winning move. 

Despite only hitting 1/8 threes in the first quarter, they rocketed to 42 per cent shooting for the match on 30/71 from the field. In the end they also added 14 three-pointers, finishing at 36 per cent from long-range. 

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth was delighted with the result after the match on the back of Friday's win in Cairns.

"Obviously it was a heck of a win for us, we played really well for 35 minutes and then fatigue set in for those last five minutes," Roth said.

"It was extremely gritty, just a really big weekend for us. Our guys were relentless in the process of this. We followed the game-plan really well. These guys dug in defensively really well. These guys thrive on everyone else's performance except themselves."

Hawks coach Brian Goorjian knew afterwards that this could be a significant result in the playoff race for his team.

"It's a tough one. They play very good in the half court, they run their stuff better than anyone in the competition and they run and scrap on the defensive end," Goorjian said. 

They moved the ball better than we did. The killer was, last time a guy like McDaniel and Josh Adams, and I thought we did a good job on them. This time Steindl hurt us. 

"There's still nine games to play in this thing, we're not out of it, but this is a real kick in the guts. "

The JackJumpers looked especially ominous during a red-hot stretch in the second quarter, when they were 4/5 from three-point range in the opening two minutes and change of the period, riding a 12-4 run to a 31-17 scoreline that stunned the Hawks. 

The JackJumpers weren’t done there either, piling on a total of six threes before the quarter was out, establishing a 15-point lead (47-32) at half-time. 

While JackJumpers head coach Scott Roth would have appreciated the fine shooting of Steindl during this run, he would have been especially pleased by the magnificent defence his team played. 

Those 32 points that the Hawks had managed at half-time represented their lowest offensive half of the season. It left Brian Goorjian with plenty of work to do in the MyState Bank Arena locker-rooms. 

Tasmania stymied Tyler Harvey and Antonius Cleveland (16 and 13 points respectively) right when it seemed they’d get hot, and despite Duop Reath’s impact on the glass (seven rebounds, also 12 points), the Australian Olympian failed to get his Hawks over the line. 

Jessup provided the last-minute fireworks to finish with 15 points, including a trio of three (nine attempts). 

Now 10-9, the JackJumpers are still in the playoff mix and will inch even closer to an unthinkable championship tilt in their first season with more play like this. 

One quirk worth noting, the 10-point (62-52) advantage for the JackJumpers at three quarter-time remains an insurmountable margin this NBL season. No trailing team has reeled in a lead over 10 points to win, and the JackJumpers made it 33-0 with this victory. 

Few have gotten as close to reversing that stat as the Hawks today, so expect more blockbuster action from these foes next week. 

The Hawks now return home for a massive game with the South East Melbourne Phoenix on Friday. The JackJumpers are next in action on Saturday in a rematch with the Hawks, this time at The Silverdome in Launceston.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 15

TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 81 (Steindl 20, McVeigh 19, Magette 11)

ILLAWARRA HAWKS 77 (Harvey 16, Jessup 15, Cleveland 13) 

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